Enduring the entirety of the haunted attraction known as the Columbia City Haunted Jail has never been easy.
But, this year, some patrons won’t last much longer than the first flight of stairs.
Deimos Nosferatu, the haunt’s M.C. (Maestro of Carnage), says there’s something new at the top of the stairs that he calls the Rattler.
“It is, quite simply, the simplest and most nasty gag I have ever come up with in all my life,” he says.
Anyone familiar with Nosferatu’s prior gags knows he ain’t just whistling Dixie here.
What he’s whistling is closer to taps.
Nosferatu says 80 percent of the jail was redesigned this summer.
The clown room has been “intensely pumped up,” he says, and there’s a new dark maze room “to weed out the weaklings.”
In the piano room, the tickling of the ivories is relatively benign, Nosferatu says. The absence of said tickling, however, is fraught with peril.
“When the music stops, that’s when you have to be worried,” he says.
At one point in this journey, a traveler is going to want to watch out for an incubus that “comes out of the wall and tries to rip your head off,” Nosferatu says.
The exact location of this incubus was lost when the reporter spilled coffee (or perhaps it was blood) on his notes.
In Mr. Grinder’s Meat Market, Nosferatu had to reinforce and pad the walls because “people kept running into” and “clawing” them, he says.
Wary pilgrims should be mindful of a freshly dug “40-foot hole in the ground” that might impede their progress.
This is separate and distinct from a snake pit that may make all previous incarnations and definitions of “snake pit” seem benevolent by comparison.
“We’ve got these genetically modified rattlesnakes that have been living in the jail,” Nosferatu says. “They’re 8 to 9 feet long and they’re nasty.
“I don’t care how ready you think you are,” he says. “I don’t care who you are. You can be a snake wrangler for the Discovery Channel. When you see these things, you’re hitting the ground.”
After years of wandering the halls and wishing he could live in the jail, Nosferatu says he has built himself a tomb this year.
This doesn’t mean he has stopped wandering the halls.
“You never know if Deimos is in his tomb or not,” Nosferatu says, referring to himself in the third person. “The threat of Deimos being in the tomb is as great as the threat of him not being in the tomb.”
Nosferatu says there’s a new fog tunnel outside the jail and a ride that simulates being buried alive, among other aspects of recent cessation.
He says he judges his nightly success by the rate of incontinency and regurgitation among his patrons.
“This is intended for adults,” he says. “We’re not putting on little sketches here and asking people to participate in them. This is a slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am haunt. We’re trying to make you wet your pants. We’re not good for kids.”
If other area haunts get to claim that they’re the No. 1 haunted attraction in Fort Wayne, then the Columbia City Haunted Jail should be able to claim “we’re No. 1 in the world,” Nosferatu says.
“I think we give people the best bang for their buck,” he says.